Beaufort News

How a St. Helena resident helped capture Gullah-Geechee culture for a television show

Marquetta Goodwine, also known as Queen Quet and chieftess of the Gullah-Geechee Nation, foreground, directs actors depicting slaves working a rice paddy during filming in Savannah for the second season of WGN’s “Underground.” The show is set on a slave plantation on a South Carolina island, and Goodwine, a St. Helena resident, was brought on as a consultant.
Marquetta Goodwine, also known as Queen Quet and chieftess of the Gullah-Geechee Nation, foreground, directs actors depicting slaves working a rice paddy during filming in Savannah for the second season of WGN’s “Underground.” The show is set on a slave plantation on a South Carolina island, and Goodwine, a St. Helena resident, was brought on as a consultant. Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition

The history and culture of South Carolina’s Sea Islands will be displayed as part of the second season of a popular television show about fugitive slaves.

And there’s a St. Helena native is to thank for helping shape accurate scenes.

The television show “Underground” follows a group of slaves on a Georgia plantation in the 1850s in their quest to escape north to freedom. The second season premieres at 10 p.m. Wednesday on WGN America and is set on a plantation on a South Carolina island.

Marquetta Goodwine, also known as Queen Quet and chieftess of the Gullah-Geechee Nation, worked on the show for more than three months during filming on the Savannah set.

“She consulted with us and made sure all of our Gullah-Geechee stuff was on point,” Misha Green, one of the show’s creators and executive producers, said in a behind-the-scenes video posted by the show.

Goodwine directed actors as they depicted slaves working in a rice field and worked to ensure the clothing, hair styles and food were accurate. She authenticated traditions and music used in the show.

Some of the props were provided by the Gullah-Geechee Sea Island Coalition, which Goodwine founded.

“It’s really fascinating to be able to research to find out about how they were able to retain much of their culture,” Amirah Vann, one of the show’s actors, said in the trailer.

Goodwine also consulted on the “The Patriot” a Revolutionary War drama released in 2000 and filmed in South Carolina, she said. She has been a longtime student of the Underground Railroad and toured with a production called “The Underground Railroad: A Geechee Girl’s Escape,” which tells the story of a young woman running from the Sea Islands.

The first season of “Underground” garnered praise and earned some of the network’s highest ratings in years. Ten-time Grammy winner John Legend is an executive producer and will appear in Season 2 as abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Stephen Fastenau: 843-706-8182, @IPBG_Stephen

Want to watch?

The second season of “Underground” premieres at 10 p.m. Wednesday on WGN America.

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